Lee's Hill (Telegraph Hill)

A brick pavilion atop a hill at sunset.
From atop this hill Confederate General Robert E. Lee observed the Battle of Fredericksburg.

NPS Photo

Quick Facts

Historical/Interpretive Information/Exhibits, Trailhead

On the western side of Fredericksburg, atop a hill once known as Telegraph Hill, Confederate General Robert E. Lee made his headquarters in anticipation of the battle of Fredericksburg. Initially, Lee and the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia were situated further south. As reports came in that the United States Army was amassing at Fredericksburg, and just waiting there, Lee moved his army into position outside of Fredericksburg.

When Burnside and the Army of the Potomac arrived at Chatham, Lee was unsure of the Federals' plan. Where would Burnside cross the Rappahannock: right there at town, further upstream, further downstream? Lee was not prepared to face the larger US Army of 120,000 men because he had divided his forces, sending Stonewall Jackson to the Shenandoah Valley and James Longstreet to Culpeper.

From this hill, Lee was able to see both ends of his line: the north end above the stone wall and the south end on Prospect Hill. His vantage point gave him the opportunity to know how the battle was going and adapt if necessary.

While you're here...

Hike up to Lee's Hill

From the parking lot, take the half a mile round trip trail to the top of Lee's Hill. If you are visiting in the fall or winter, you can see some of the battlefield through the trees. The trail is steep and paved.

Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park

Last updated: January 11, 2024